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    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    SmartBro promos also available on your mobile

    For months I have been using my buddy SIM to browse the internet through my mobile phone. But the promos of Smart Buddy and SmartBro are different. For Buddy, although it is unlimited surfing also, there is a data limit. That if the download limit is reached your subscription automatically stops even if there are still time remaining on the promo you have availed. SmartBro on the other hand does not have a data limit so no matter how much data was downloaded. This, however, needs a little minor adjustment, that is to change the APN to "smartbro" without the qoutation marks. Just go to your phones network or connectivity settings and change the APN to smartbro. This should also work with other network like Globe's Tattoo. Simply determine the correct APN.

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    Extend Your Mobile Browsing Time
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    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    Extend Your Mobile Browsing Time

    My portable cellphone charger powered with 2 AA
    rechargeable batteries.
    If you are like me who don't like bringing a notebook or a tablet around but still browses a lot using a mobile phone, then you are already aware that you are only limited to a couple of hours before your battery goes low.

    I even uses my phone to update my blogs as I go around (yes folks I do go out) to do other stuff like meet with friends, play outdoors with my son and do some errands.

    If such is the case and you want more surfing time without your battery going out on you, you might want to try what I call portable battery charger.

    These are the ones that you carry with you to charge your battery even without an outlet to plug your charger as they are either powered by AA sized batteries or has their built-in battery where you charge them before you go out.

    I prefer the former to the latter as I have several rechargeable AA batteries at home that I also use for my camera's external flash. What's more, when the batteries are discharged, I can always run to a store to buy AA batteries (not the rechargeable ones) as substitute.

    One thing to remember though when you decided to buy one. Check first your charger's output voltage and power (or capacity in mA) and this is what you should look for. The power may not be the exact value as long as it is higher then you should be okay. This is to ensure that you will not be overloading your charger as well as your battery and avoid burning the batteries and/or charger.

    Try it, you will love it. I did, mine just fits right into my pocket.

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    SmartBro promos also available on your mobile

    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    Smart Bro always disconnecting

    Problem: Smart Bro keeps disconnecting

    Brief History: A few weeks ago, I have purchased Smart's Starter Kit (STARTER Plug-It). I choose this against Globe's Tatto because  I am constantly moving between two homes about 40 Km apart and on one of them, I can only get signal from Smart and not from Globe even if it is only Edge. At least browsing is still possible with my mobile using an Edge connection.

           These kits have about 120 hours (about 5 days) of free internet out of the box. During those period, surfing the internet was seemless. Never had any problem what so ever. When the free period is over, my problems started. Immediately after the free period expires, I got disconnected and was unable to connect any more. I then tried to load using the reload card (did I say I got the prepaid?) but still unable to connect. I tried my Buddy SIM on the dongle and it works pretty well. So, I checked the SmartBro interface and went to the settings tab but has very limited options there and despite some suggestions I got through Googling, I still could not connect. By the way, comparing the settings panel for Tattoo and SmartBro, Tattoo's settings panel seems to have more options (if memory serves me right), but that for another story.

           Make long story short, I ended calling their customer support. They asked me questions like when problem started, where is my location and such basic questions. So far so good. Then the rep on the other end asked if after the free period I got automatically disconnected and I said YES. So he told me that they will be checking on my account and for the meantime I will monitor my connection within 24 hours. So I did.

           24 hours passed and what do you know, I can connect again! I said Yes! I told myself at least they are not as bad with after sales service as others have been reporting.

           Several hours later, another problem started. I am now getting disconnected every 30 seconds or so. For the whole night I ignored it as I can still load a page and read it. I just have to restart the connection after wards, thinking maybe it will be just for the night and things will return to normal again by the next day.

           Morning came, I checked my connection and still the same happens. 30 seconds (well not all the time, sometimes I get 1 or 2 minutes if I am lucky but not more than 5 minutes of continuous connection) then my connection is out again. Funny thing is the interface is still showing I am connected.

           How do I know? Because on the Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del to bring up the Task Manager window) under Networking tab, I don't see my SmartBro connection. I did a ping to Google as well (Click Start button - I am using XP then click run type "cmd" or "command" without the qoutation marks to bring up the DOS shell window and type "ping /t" then press enter key without the qoutes. To terminate the ping, press CTRL+C) and I get an error message "ping request could not find host...".

           Since I am moving to the other house, I did not bother reporting the problem. Still thinking that maybe when I get back, all is going to be normal once again.

           After a week, I got back and tried connecting again. Still same thing happens. So I called their hotline (*8888) to report on the problem. Asked me several questions. In the end the rep guy told me that he will have to make a report and that I will have to monitor my connection within 24 hours.

    Report number: 418363218
    Time and date of call: 11/24/2012 at around 9:00 am

           This now brings us to the present......So much for a brief history huh! hehehe.

    Now: 24 hours has come and gone. Still getting intermittent connection. Now windows and other installed programs are asking for updates but could not do so because of the intermittent connection specially my security tools.

           I called back. Me and the guy at the other end went through the same process like the previous day.

           Asked the same questions already asked yesterday like where do I live, how many bars do I see on the interface, how long is the disconnection. Then asked me to be put on hold so he could check something. Came back after like 1 or 2 minutes and asked me a question or two more then told me that he must make a report. The event that happened so far is the exact same thing that happened yesterday: asked questions, hear the clicking sound of a keyboard (obviously filling-up a custom form for the kind of problem I have), then excuses himself (making me wait several minutes) and return to tell me he needed to make a report. This time, I am a bit more prepared so I then asked why the need for a report again when it was already reported yesterday and the same questions I answered today were answered already yesterday. His reply is so that their tech could make adjustments needed for the problem in my area, well to be fare this makes sense. I asked, so how long will this adjustment take (thinking to myslef that probably they are already doing some adjustments but needs more time)? He told me normally it would take about 24 hours. Well 24 hours has passed from the first report and nothing has changed. I was already told twice to monitor my connection within 24 hours. Wait 24 hours it is....

    Report Number: 418473230
    Time and date of call: 11/25/2012 at 9:42 a.m. (end of call)
    Customer Rep: Anthony (Last name withheld)

    Update (11/25/2012): Connection still getting disconnected although not as previously stated anymore. Now my connection lasts for 5 minutes or so. But this is still not acceptable as the speed is very slow. Software update is still impossible. 12 more hours to wait, but won't be able to give you updates since I am moving to my other home. Will be updating next weekend. Until then!

    Note: This is already quiet long so I need to stop for now. I have copied my pings and other things I have made and will update this post with visuals later on. If you have the same problem or other problems, share them with me so I know I am not the only one. hehehe! Bye for now.

    Update (11/30/2012): Connection is still the same. Just subscribed to SmartBro UNLISURF for 2 days and what I got is a limited surf of 30 seconds for each connection, that is from 10:00p.m. to past twelve midnight.   So I said enough and I called back at Smart's customer service hotline. And for a change I instantly got connected to a service rep. I normally get an answer for about 10 minutes or more of waiting. But this time it was very, very quick. Like I did not even hear the music they usually play to make you wait.

    Anyway, to my update. After our brief good evenings, I told them I am having problem with my connection and that it frequently gets disconnected and added that I am having this same problem since around two weeks ago and that I have been previously been given 2 report numbers and asked him if he wanted to get the last report number. To be honest I did not understand his reply  but I gave the number anyways.

    That is when the usual questions were asked. Asked my location, my name, where was the device connected was it on a notebook or a desktop? I said desktop. What is my OS? I said XP. Then the usual wait for a minute or two to check the service in my location. After two minutes(I was already enjoying the music on the phone when...), he came back and told me that there is nothing wrong in my area and that there is no report of any service maintenance or something in my area.

    And so I pressed the question,  so why am I getting disconnected? Asked me If I have tried to connect the device on other pc but told him no but that I have used the sim on my phone in another location without any noticeable interruption. But I quickly added that that was a cellphone and that I may not be able to detect it like in a pc and that my connection is only edge.

    Then he asked me to try to restart the device by disconnecting it. At the same time he asked me to restart my PC. I already told him that I have done that already a few times tonight but I obliged and restarted everything. While I am restarting it was somehow implied that maybe it was my desktop having a problem. So I told him that I have a reasonable number of processes running tonight around 40+ and that my memory usage tonight is around half of the commit charge. I have also checked already for possible virus although I don't think virus would affect connectivity.

    He said he was very sorry and due to the several reports that I have made already, this thing has already been hilighted.

    I also mentioned that this thing normally happens during peak hours. After hearing this, he goes off again. When he came back he said that due to the new information I have given them regarding when I normally get a lot of disconnection, he will have to make a report and that I will have to.....well we already know the rest of where this goes. So another 24 hours it is.

    By the way, it is already past 1 a.m. at the time of this update and I already have a steady connection.

    Oh before I forget, I learned a new thing from this guy: All the while my notion was that the canopy and this mobile broadband are the same but actually it is not. The canopy has a different signal from mobile broadband. The canopy relies on line of sight while mobile broadband seems not because you can take it where ever you go so line of sight is no issue and therefore jitter does not apply to mobile broadband (for the  jitter part, I still have to check its truthfulness).

    Here are some screen shots I took last week.
    Ping to Google has timed out and time is too long.
    After several second of pinging, connection is lost.

    Task Manager capture showing network usage. Taken while
    trying to watch in YouTube which of course keeps buffering.

    Even Smart website can't load. Notice also SmartBro interface,
    it can't load properly due to very poor connectivity. Even if
    SmartBro is already disconnected (check the task manager),
    the interface shows that it is still connected.

    Download and Upload speed the same at 20Kbps? Isn't this
    dial-up speed from way back? If I am not mistaken dial-up is
    even faster than this. result the following morning.


    Update (12/01/2012): Just want to give abrief status update to my internet connection. It seems that whatever Smart did is working. Now I don't have as much and as frequent disconnections but still gets disconnected. At least now I can watch videos and download a 10mb file.

    I have observed though that my disconnections seem to be related to how much data I download. It is like there is a qouta of data you are allowed for a certain amount of time and when your data download continuous, the disconnection happens. Not sure but that is only my opinion. Might want to test this some other time.

    But for now, I am quite satisfied with my connection. So to the Smart guys, good job. Reserving my thanks though until I am satisfied that this is going to be a permanent thing. keeping my fingers crossed.

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